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J-1 Exchange Visitor Visa

Embark on your cultural exchange journey in the United States with a J-1 exchange visitor visa. The skilled immigration attorneys at SimVisa are ready to guide you through the process.

SimVisa offers:

  • Streamlined application: We make the J-1 visa application process easy, accessible, and stress-free;
  • Experienced immigration attorneys: Our legal professionals possess in-depth knowledge of the J-1 visa regulations and exchange programs;
  • Flexible pricing: We provide customizable fee structures to meet diverse financial needs;
  • Full support: From application to arrival in the U.S., you’ll receive ongoing assistance.

Consult a seasoned J-1 visa attorney from SimVisa today to learn more about our industry-leading legal services.

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Chicago Immigration Law Firm with Digital Solutions
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Immigration Law


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    With SimVisa, you have the option of receiving full-service legal support - for every aspect of your case - with immigration lawyers from a top-quality immigration law firm.

    • Step 1: Initial Consultation with SimVisa

    • Step 2: SimVisa Fills Out Your Immigration Applications

    • Step 3: SimVisa Prepares Application Package with Evidence

    • Step 4: A SimVisa Attorney Reviews Your Application Package

    • Step 5: SimVisa Submits an Application to USCIS For You

    • Step 6: SImVisa Handles All Communications with USCIS

    • Step 7: SimVisa Monitors Your Case From Start To Finish

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    Have you started your application and then gotten confused? Are you worried you might make a mistake or leave out important supporting documents? SimVisa is the solution. We understand you might want to save on lawyer fees and file on your own. You can relax because SimVisa will prepare your application under the supervision of an immigration attorney. You will even get a one hour video conference with an immigration attorney after SimVisa prepares your forms.

    • Step 1: SimVisa collected information and documents from you through our online portal

    • Step 2: Simvisa fills out your forms and prepares your supporting documents

    • Step 3: A SimVisa immigration attorney goes over your filled-out application and supporting documents with you (1-hour video consultation)

    • Step 4: Simvisa finalizes your packet with attorney approval

    • Step 5: We deliver your packet to your door

    • Step 6: You file with USCIS

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All You Need to Know

Experienced J-1 Visa Lawyers

SimVisa is headquartered in the heart of Chicago, but our reach extends nationwide. Whether you're setting out for an educational exchange program, research endeavor, or cultural immersion journey to the U.S., our dedicated team can ensure a seamless and successful visa application process.

We offer a personalized approach designed to suit your unique needs, with a thorough understanding of complex immigration laws and regulations. Regardless of where in the world you reside, you can rely on our seasoned immigration attorneys to help you accomplish your educational and professional goals.

What Is a J-1 Exchange Visitor Visa?

What Is a J-1 Exchange Visitor Visa?

A J-1 exchange visitor visa is a non-immigrant visa category that allows foreign nationals to come to the United States temporarily for the purpose of participating in various exchange programs.

The J-1 visa program is administered by the U.S. Department of State and encompasses a wide range of exchange categories, including:

  • Au pair: Participants in the Au Pair program live with a host family, provide childcare services, and have the opportunity to study and experience American culture;
  • Intern: Interns come to the U.S. for practical training or to gain short-term work experience in their field of study;
  • Trainee: Trainees participate in structured training programs in their respective fields, allowing them to enhance their skills and knowledge;
  • Teacher: Teachers, professors, and research scholars can engage in educational and research activities at American academic institutions;
  • Summer work travel: College and university students from abroad have the chance to work and travel in the U.S. during their summer breaks, fostering cultural exchange;
  • Camp counselor: Participants work at summer camps as counselors and contribute to the camp's programs and cultural exchange;
  • Physician: Foreign medical graduates can come to the U.S. for graduate medical education or training;
  • Government visitor: Individuals from foreign governments and international organizations visit for the purposes of educational and informational exchange;
  • Research scholar: Researchers and scholars engage in research projects, lectures, and collaborations with American institutions;
  • Cultural exchange: This category includes programs that promote cultural understanding and interaction, such as dance or music programs.

All of these programs are intended to promote cultural exchange, educational opportunities, and international cooperation.

J-1 Visa Requirements

In order to obtain a J-1 exchange visitor visa, you must meet the following requirements:

Enroll in an Approved Exchange Program

You must be accepted into an approved J-1 exchange program authorized by the U.S. State Department. These programs can encompass numerous categories, including education, research, cultural exchange, etc.

Seek Sponsorship

Seek Sponsorship

You must be sponsored by a designated organization or institution, which will be responsible for overseeing your participation in the J-1 program. Your sponsor will issue you a Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor Status (Form DS-2019).

Demonstrate Proficiency in English

Depending on the program, you may need to showcase sufficient fluency in English to participate effectively. Some programs may require you to take an English language proficiency test.

Secure Funding

You must have financial support adequate to cover your expenses during your stay in the United States, including tuition, living expenses, and health insurance. The source of funding may be yourself, a personal connection, your sponsor, or a combination of any of these.

Show Your Intent to Return

Show Your Intent to Return

You must prove that you have a residence in your home country that you intend to return to upon completing the J-1 program. Doing so provides assurance that you don’t intend to immigrate to the United States.

Meet the Two-Year Home Residency Requirement (If Applicable)

Some J-1 participants may be subject to a two-year home-country physical presence requirement, which means they must return to their home country for at least two years before applying for certain other U.S. visas or permanent residency.

Make the Most of Your J-1 Visa Opportunity

Applying for the U.S. exchange visitor program can be complex. Fortunately, you don’t have to do it alone. Turn to the experienced lawyers at SimVisa and take the first step toward obtaining your J-1 visa.

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What Is a J-1 Visa Waiver?

What Is a J-1 Visa Waiver?

A J-1 visa waiver is a process that allows certain J-1 program participants to request an exemption from the two-year home-country physical presence requirement.

There are several circumstances under which prospective visitors can apply for a J-1 visa waiver:

  • No objection statement: A No Objection Statement from the governing authorities of the applicant’s home country saying that they have no objection to the waiver can support the request;
  • Interested U.S. government agency (IGA): Some J-1 exchange visitors may work on projects funded by U.S. federal agencies; in such cases, the concerned government agency can recommend a waiver based on the project's significance;
  • Persecution or exceptional hardship: If the J-1 visa holder can demonstrate that returning to their home country would result in persecution or exceptional hardship to themselves or a spouse or child, they may be eligible for a waiver;
  • Conrad state 30 program: J-1 physicians who have completed their medical residency or fellowship in the U.S. and agree to work in underserved or rural areas may be eligible for a waiver under the Conrad State 30 program;
  • Fulfillment of 212(e) requirement: If the exchange visitor has already fulfilled the two-year home-country physical presence requirement, they may not need a waiver and can proceed with other visa or immigration applications.

If you’re unsure whether these conditions apply to your situation, speak with your prospective sponsor or a State Department representative.

The J-1 Visa Application Process

The J-1 Visa Application Process

The J-1 visa application process involves quite a few steps.

As such, it's important to get started well in advance of your intended program start date. Here’s a brief overview of the required actions:

  • Select a J-1 exchange visitor program: Choose a suitable J-1 exchange program and get accepted by a sponsoring organization or institution in the U.S.;
  • Acquire Form DS-2019: After acceptance, you'll receive Form DS-2019, which is a critical document for your visa application;
  • Pay the SEVIS fee: Applicants must pay the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System fee online and obtain the SEVIS ID from Form DS-2019;
  • Complete Form DS-160: Fill out Form DS-160, Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application, and get a confirmation receipt with a barcode;
  • Pay the visa fee: Pay the non-refundable visa application fee (which varies by country) and keep the receipt;
  • Schedule a visa interview: Visit the U.S. embassy or consulate website in your home country to schedule a visa interview; make sure you gather all necessary documents, including Form DS-2019, DS-160 confirmation receipt, visa fee receipt, and passport;
  • Attend the interview: Show up to your visa interview and provide clear and truthful answers to the consular officer's questions;
  • Attend a biometrics appointment and undergo processing: Some applicants may need to schedule a biometrics appointment at a Visa Application Center; your application will be processed after these appointments;
  • Await your visa: If you’re approved, you'll receive a J-1 visa stamp on your passport;
  • Travel to the U.S.: Arrange travel to the U.S.; make sure you have proper health insurance coverage.

It’s important to adhere closely to the regulations of your particular J-1 program to ensure that you maintain your legal status.

How Long Can I Stay in the U.S. on a J-1 Visa?

How Long Can I Stay in the U.S. on a J-1 Visa?

The duration of your stay in the United States depends on your specific J-1 exchange program category and the terms set by your sponsoring organization.

Here are some general guidelines for common J-1 program categories:

  • Students (J-1 Student Visa): Full duration of the academic program, plus any optional practical training (OPT) and a grace period (usually 30 days) after the program's completion;
  • Interns and trainees (J-1 Intern and Trainee Visas): Up to 12 or 18 months, depending on the program in question;
  • Teachers and professors (J-1 Teacher and Professor Visas): Duration determined by sponsoring institution;
  • Research scholars (J-1 Research Scholar Visa): Per program duration on Form DS-2019;
  • Au pairs (J-1 Au Pair Visa): Up to 12 months with the option to extend;
  • Summer work travel (J-1 Summer Work Travel Visa): Typically up to four months.

Note that other conditions and restrictions may apply pending any changes to your chosen program, visitation timeline, or legal status.

How SimVisa’s Immigration Lawyers Can Help

Our skilled legal professionals can provide invaluable assistance throughout the J-1 visa application process, ensuring a turbulence-free journey to the United States.

Here's how we can help:

  1. Legal acumen: Take advantage of our extensive knowledge of J-1 visa regulations and program requirements;
  2. Meticulous application preparation: Our team can assist with the preparation of Form DS-2019 and other essential documents;
  3. Comprehensive visa application support: We’ll walk you through the procedures for completing Form DS-160, paying your visa fee, and scheduling your visa interview;
  4. Streamlined waiver application: If you’re eligible, we can help you with a J-1 visa waiver request, including soliciting No Objection Statements and satisfying other waiver requirements;
  5. Dependable legal counsel: You can rely on our veteran attorneys to provide trustworthy legal advice and ensure that you remain compliant with U.S. immigration laws;
  6. Visa extension: If you’re attempting to remain in the U.S. longer than originally planned, we can help you request an extension within your program category.

Connect with a SimVisa lawyer today to learn more about how we can help you obtain a J-1 visa.

SohYoon Atac
Co-founder of SimVisa with over 17 years of experience in immigration law.


  • Juris Doctorate - Chicago Kent College of Law
  • Bachelor's Degree - The University of Chicago
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Why Choose SimVisa?

SimVisa is the premier provider of legal immigration services. Working with our immigration lawyers offers a host of benefits, including the following:

  • A proven track record: Our team of qualified immigration attorneys possesses vast knowledge and experience in J-1 visa matters;
  • Personalized solutions: We understand that every case is a little different, which is why we tailor our services to each client’s unique situation, offering custom immigration solutions that align with your goals;
  • Transparent communication: We prioritize open, transparent communication to ensure that you stay informed and in control every step of the way.

Our impressive 98% success rate means you can enter the J-1 visa process confidently, knowing you have a capable partner looking out for your interests.

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What Our Clients Are Saying


Read the reviews below to see what our clients have to say.

Sinziana Constandache

I absolutely recommend Mrs Atac and her team! They were wonderful in helping me get my green card and my citizenship and made the entire process go as smoothly as possible. They got everything that needed to be done together- so much paperwork and documents, and answered all my questions- no matter how small; they would reply right away and that have given me peace of mind about any concern that I had. The staff is absolutely amazing and I would 10/10 recommend

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Iibrahim Teke

My attorney SohYoon and her assistant Vanessa were really helpful. They walked me through all through all the process step by step. Definitely recommended

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Icen Arsin

Very courteous, professional and competent legal team. They take the time to understand your specific situation. They support and follow through.

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Martin Kerver

Always professional to any of our questions we had. Highly recommended.

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Avnit Bambah

Great firm help me with Citizenship and I got it in timely manner.

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Heejoo Smith

Great immigration service! I got my green card within 4 months!

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Cirkovic Pedja

Agile and swift. All the best PJ

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Can I work on a J-1 Visa?

Depending on their exchange visitor program category, J-1 visa holders may have limited work authorization, such as on-campus employment or internship opportunities related to their field of study.

Can I extend My J-1 Visa stay?

In some cases, visa holders may be eligible for program extensions. The specific eligibility criteria and application process will vary based on your program category and sponsoring organization.

What happens if I don't fulfill the two-year home residency requirement?

Failing to fulfill this key requirement may make you ineligible for certain other U.S. visas or permanent residency until the requirement is satisfied or waived.

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Contact Us Today

Get on the fast track to your J-1 exchange visitor visa by working with SimVisa. Call us at (312) 298-9766 or fill out our convenient online form to get started.

If you are ready to start your journey toward permanent residency, fill out the following form and call today.